Depending on the size of the total amount of files you want to backup you might look at a usb Flash drive which come in various sizes or a usb external hard drive.
Using either of those you can just use the Windows Backup utility that comes in Windows XP.
(accessed in start/programs/accessories/system tools/backup)
You don't backup "programs" as such, but you do backup data you generated using programs.
If you get an external, dual purpose hard drive, many come with imaging or other backup software that will take an image of your entire system so it can be exactly restored including programs should there be a problem. Some can also be set to do incremental backups automatically at times determined by you in their settings..
Another good backup method is that if you have two computers such as one laptop and one desktop you can sync them on a regular basis so all data will exist on both.
Edited by Enthusiast, 21 August 2006 - 08:46 AM.